After Wednesday’s 2-1 win Lamar Neagle burst into the top 18 in goal scoring. Kenny Cooper is in the top 26 with his three goals. Obafemi Martins was already at four goals in that chunk of MLS players tied for 9th (Neagle is as well). Clint Dempsey leads all scorers with his eight goals.
That is a full four men who are currently pacing to score 10 or more goals.
Those goals are not coming in consistent chunks. Dempsey was kept off the board in the last two games. Both Neagle and Martins went three-straight this season without scoring. Cooper broke a stretch of four matches without a goal. Teams are able to stop one of Seattle Sounders FC’s scorers, maybe two. In the seven games with at least two goals scored by Seattle only twice have three of the four scorers been kept off the board – at Dallas and against Philadelphia. In that Dallas game Dempsey had two goals. Last Saturday’s win over the Union included a goal by Chad Marshall.
There are different techniques to try and slow down the attack. Some teams are fouling. Others go into a bunker. Dallas condensed their line, forcing Sounders FC into wide play. The various methods work against some of the attacking threats, but they can not control them all.
Like the ancient Greek legend of the Hydra there are just too many options to control all. When one is limited another appears. Contain Dempsey and Martins pops up and nets a goal. Limit both within the box and they become providers for Neagle and Cooper. Foul them when they are in the midfield and the service of Marco Pappa and Gonzalo Pineda is activated.
It is a multi-headed offense that is difficult to contain. Even just slowing it down to merely a single attacking goal is something that has not happened since the loss to Columbus. During the six match unbeaten run the offense is credited with 16 goals, more than sixteen MLS teams (Dallas has 19 on the year, Salt Lake has 16).
Despite falling behind and giving up goals, there is a clarity and recognition that scoring two or more goals a game is an expectation. The confidence in the ability to score late to level or win the game is displayed in the 15 second-half goals, the seven goals in the final 15 minutes of time.
To borrow from a modern legendary Hydra – score one goal and two appear. That gets rather difficult to beat.